October #SIGINT Class For #Preppers and Patriots – Denver, CO

SIGINT (Signals Intelligence) – Intelligence-gathering by interception of signals, whether communications between people (communications intelligence—abbreviated to COMINT) or from electronic signals not directly used in communication (electronic intelligence—abbreviated to ELINT).


Sparks31 presents:

Electronic Interception, Communications Monitoring, and Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) For Preppers and Patriots

October 20th to 21st, 2018
Denver, Colorado

This is a two day class focused on the needs of the 3%er, survivalist, or prepper. It teaches the basics of intelligence versus information, electronic communications monitoring, signals intelligence (SIGINT), and open source intelligence (OSINT) in support of SIGINT. It has been my observation that these skills are important and needed. Until now instruction was unavailable in the 3%, survivalist, and prepper communities. This class has been developed to provide access to this valuable information, and help those who would like to learn. It is based upon my 30 years of experience in communications monitoring, and work in the electronics , radio communications, and security industries. It has been distilled into the essentials from the best military, private sector, and hobbyist sources. Much of the material is new and has never before been presented in one course, including my previous grid-down/down-grid communications classes.

The first day of class will be a course of instruction where the following topics will be taught and discussed:

  • What is intelligence?
  • Intelligence versus information.
  • What is SIGINT, COMINT, ELINT,and OSINT, and how do they all work together.
  • Legalities of civilian SIGINT.
  • Area studies.
  • What do you need? Equipment types and figuring out its selection for your area.
  • Electronic interception, communications monitoring (low level voice intercept) and COMINT techniques.
  • Setting up a listening post in different situations.
  • Police scanners, communications receivers, SDRs, antennas, and other gear.
  • Constructing an electronic order of battle for your area.

The second day of class will be a field exercise in which the techniques taught the previous day will be demonstrated, and students who have brought equipment will have the opportunity to engage in a monitoring exercise. A listening post will be set up, communications monitoring activity will be conducted, and further practical instruction provided.

Due to the intense, technical nature of this class, (I have a well-deserved reputation for giving a lot of material to students over the course of the class. Be prepared to take extensive notes.) enrollment size will be limited.

The cost for this two-day class will be at a discounted rate of $200 until August 31st, 2018 for any two immediate family members (spouse/child/sibling). After August 31st, the cost will increase to $250 provided slots remain available. Advance registration ends October 1st. After October 1st, the “at the door” price for any remaining slots will be $400. Group discounts are also available.  Four or more get 10% off the total enrollment price. Eight or more get 20%. Email me sparks31wyo@gmail.com for the discount code.

Payment is accepted in the form of credit card, cash, good check, or money order. To enroll and pay via credit card, please visit our storefront at https://squareup.com/store/sparks31. If paying by good check, cash, or money order, please email me via sparks31wyo@gmail.com for payment information.


The Snake – Part 2


As you guessed, this post is not about Snake Plissken, the character portrayed by Kurt Russell in Escape From NY and Escape From LA. It’s about a type of antenna.


Since the previous post, I’ve found some more information about this interesting antenna.




Three things that make this antenna look attractive are cost, ease of deployment, and stealth. This antenna is cheap. Scrounging 100+ feet of junk coax, especially 75 ohm stuff, is not difficult. If you have to buy it new, 100 feet of cheap RG-6 will set you back about $11-$12. Deployment is as simple as it gets. Just roll the antenna out on the ground. Since it’s just a length of dark cable on cable on the ground, it’s very stealthy.

This antenna was intended for situations where noise reduction was more important than gain. It’s a valid consideration in many areas, particularly urban and suburban locales where the hash generated by large numbers of common consumer electronics devices can raise the noise floor to where reception is almost impossible. I’ve noticed that USB chargers and LED lamps are particularly obnoxious.

Checking my parts stock netted a length of RG-6 coax about 100 feet or so in length that was taken from a decommissioned satellite TV installation. Ten minutes later I had it hooked up to the R-75 and ready for testing.

The first thing I did notice was that it did lower the noise level by an appreciable amount, compared to my usual 120′ longwire. I then noticed less co-channel competition on AM BCB.

To understand what I’m talking about, hook up a longwire to a shortwave receiver and tune through AM BCB one evening when there isn’t a thunderstorm going on within a hundred miles or so. You will hear multiple stations on the same frequency. That’s why the hardcore MF band SWLs use loops, or beverage antennas aimed in desired directions.

Sometimes even that’s not enough, like a few nights ago when I was listening to a Canadian class A and a Russian language class B out of Oregon do a fade waltz with each other. Both happened to be in the same direction (roughly speaking) from here so my loop antenna with its two broad lobes couldn’t effectively null one or the other out.

AM BCB performance was pretty decent. IDed class B stations 660 KTNN (Window Rock, AZ), 570 KNRS (Salt Lake City, UT), 840 KXNT (Las Vegas, NV), and my regular catch class A 640 KFI in Los Angeles. You can get KFI out here with a wet noodle, but the class Bs require a little more effort. KTNN and KXNT are about 400-500 miles from here. Not bad for something you just lay out on the ground.

After spinning the dial on AM BCB, I tried it on the lower ham bands. Listening to 160 and 80 meters, I was able to hear stations as far as Phoenix, AZ and Southern California. Most were running some power, but one mobile outside of LA was audible right above the noise floor. For a final evening check I heard WWVH competing with her brother station on 15000 KHz. That’s pretty normal for here though.

So far RX performance was pretty decent. Some hams have said that this antenna will also work for TX with an antenna tuner. After I finish more RX experiments, I’ll hook up a transmitter…

Fight Internet Censorship With Meatspace


It all begins, and ends, with meatspace. Non-virtual reality. Everyone should invest the nominal amount a year, and get a PO Box in a nearby town that they visit at least once a week. If possible, find one that has 24-hour access to boxes. Use this for correspondence with your friends, acquaintances, and other people you want to communicate amongst in a quality manner. I always welcome correspondence via U.S. Mail, and will reply in kind. Some of the best information I receive, such as Dwelling Portably zine1 and the periodic dispatches from my friend Wildflower, comes via this route.

I will share something with you, my readers, about communications that I have discovered a while back, and confirmed when I moved out here to God’s Country after living in the Land Of the Dead for 45 years. This goes beyond survivalism/”prepping”, the organized miltia/3%er scene, and all that related bullshit.

Think about all the “news” stories you hear from both sides of the fence. Most of it is heavily distorted or outright fake, and when you look at it serves little to no useful purpose when it comes to self-reliance and preparedness. Some of the worst offenders are “patriots” who release “intel reports” that cannot stand up to even the most basic vetting and confirmation processes.

Internet media is well suited for this form of attack because it enables the perpetrator, whether they are willfully or unknowingly acting, to send mass amounts of static to a mass audience. The massive static also acts to drown out smaller, more truthful voices, or at least blunts their usefulness.

Think about the information that you really need to assess current situations and to survive if matters worsen… Now think about recent news stories… The biggest news stories I head on the InterNET before writing this piece were ABSOLUTELY IRRELEVANT to my operations out here, basically showed that the status quo has not changed one iota in the Land Of the Dead, and that like-minded individuals who still live in those zombie zones are grossly outnumbered to the point where they will get eaten when matters get worse over there. It doesn’t take a weatherman to tell you which way the wind is blowing, nor a pundit or a prophet to tell you the barn will burn down if the fire isn’t put out. With that, you damn well should know by now that Mrs. O’Leary’s cow has kicked the lantern over, and things are about to get interesting.

The best form of communications is in meatspace. Your group should meet once a week at a designated time and place. That’s the time to discuss local observations and relevant news stories, work on projects, etc. Leave your cellphones, tablets, and laptops at home. You should have no need for them at the meeting, and their absence acts as a surveillance countermeasure. If you need your phone on the road, before you leave turn it off, stick it in a anti-static bag and toss it in an ammo box that’s in your car’s trunk. The cellphone network will think you are still at the location where you turned off the phone.

Don’t bother with emailing members who missed a meeting, because most people glance over or ignore their email due to all the spam that they receive. Type up a quick one or two page summary of what went on, stick it in an envelope, and send it to their PO Box. That is assuming you can’t see them in the next day or two to tell them about what they missed. You should also set up rally points and contingency plans in the event something happens that requires them to be used. Setting up a few dead drop locations where you can leave a note wouldn’t hurt either.

Nine times out of ten, when a disaster happens your best bet is to get home and stay there. For the other ten percent of the time you need a safe place that you can get to with no more than a half tank of gas. There be “meeting tree” locations that can serve as rally and message drop points.

On public hiking/backpacking trails, there are bulletin board locations where hikers can post messages. Overnight shelters located along the Appalachian Trail have log books where visitors can make an entry during their stay. Next to the door of my workshop is a covered shelf made out of an old enamel oven roasting pan. There is a sign under it which says:

If at home you do not find us,
Leave a note that will remind us.

On the shelf is a small notepad and a pencil. Many years ago, when telephones were connected to wires in homes, people would visit each other more frequently than they do now. One of my neighbors at my childhood home had a notepad holder next to his home’s entrance with that saying printed on it. I found this profound enough that when I finally moved someplace worthy of it, I made a similar message holder of my own for my homestead.

For those of you who want something more portable or covert to leave messages, there are key safes that look like rocks, planters, and small statues that have enough space for you to secrete a small note for later retrieval. There is also nothing stopping you from putting together a simple code system. “Joe’s place” would mean nothing to anyone coming across the message, unless they were clued in to what the code means. “Joe’s garage” might mean something else, and then there might be “Tom’s place.” Now we have four words we can use to create a simple code system to signify four different locations.




Location 1

Location 2


Location 3

Location 4

“Joe’s garage” is the location one. “Tom’s place” is location four. Some of you preppers might have noticed that you can use PACE (Primary, Alternate, Contingency, Emergency) with four different code meanings. Codes like this are simple, unbreakable, and can be used with any communications from written notes to radios.

1 Send $5 or so to Lisa Ahne, POB 181, Alesa, OR 97324. Please let her know that Tom from Wyoming sent you.



Military SIGINT News

hysqq4a6ivffrdywujg7gi6d5eU.S. Army Photo

Via my OSINT Feed:

Army wrestles with signals intelligence (SIGINT) vs. electronic warfare (EW)

Busting The Green Door: Army SIGINT Refocuses On Russia & China

The Army wants to build a better signals intelligence force

I’ve always said that listening is >2X as important as transmitting. SIGINT is big in the news these days. Being able to get first-hand intel about your area is a tool you need, and you can learn how to do it just like the pros.

Slots are filling quickly for my SIGINT Class in Colorado this October, and you still have a few weeks left to take advantage of the early-bird discount rate.

Click here to sign up.


Test Equipment

Useful information.

The Test & Measurement Page

Every amateur radio station should be provided with the following minimal test equipment:

  • A frequency-measuring instrument accurate to within 10 Hz.
  • An RF power meter capable of measuring forward and reflected power, or power and VSWR.
  • An accurate digital multimeter (with a high-voltage probe for safe measurement of voltages above 500V).
  • Assorted RF jumper cables (PL-259, BNC, N, SMA in various combinations.)
  • A well-regulated bench power supply (13.8V/25A minimum).